Snowden's Bush Trust unveils plaque to Brightwater benefactor Laura Hill

  • 23 June 2022

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Laura Hill’s contribution to the community of Brightwater, near Nelson, has been acknowledged by the unveiling of a plaque in an area added to Snowden’s Bush Scenic Reserve that her legacy helped preserve.

A well-known teacher, Hill’s bequest led to the establishment of the Pinegrove Trust in the 1980s. That trust, due to be wound up on July 1, supported many projects and entities such as Pinegrove Kindergarten, St Paul's church, Brightwater School and Wanderers Sports Club.

As its final contribution, the Pinegrove Trust provided the last big boost of $25,000 that the Snowden's Bush Trust needed to buy the 3500m² parcel of land adjacent to the reserve.

Instead of potentially being sold for a housing development, the site and the ancient tōtara trees that grow upon it had now officially become part of the Snowden’s Bush reserve.

lauren hill plaque
A plaque acknowledging the contributions of long-time Brightwater resident Laura Hill was unveiled on Sunday.

At a ceremony on Sunday to unveil the plaque, family member Cheryl Hill said Laura Hill would have been proud of what Pinegrove Trust had achieved.

The Snowden’s Bush Trust was formed after a public meeting in 2019. It aimed to raise $350,000 to buy the land, which was offered at a discounted price by the Nelson Diocesan Trust.

Snowden’s Bush Trust chairman Jerry Cameron said the event on Sunday also marked the completion of the project to buy the land.

“It [Snowden’s Bush Trust] wraps up officially today as well,” Cameron said. “It’s been a long time and a lot of effort from all different parts of the community.”

Other significant donations came from Tasman District Council, Brightwater Horticultural Society, JM Clayworth, Ellis St Auto, Neil Ching Trust, Network Tasman Trust, Pub Charity, The Stout Trust, Talleys Group and Tasman Pine Forest. There were also hundreds of other smaller contributions.

Taylors Contracting provided the rock for the plaque and also installed it for free.

Former Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith, who is a trustee of Snowden’s Bush Trust, said that extra gift of the work by Taylors meant the trust had $10,000 remaining in its account. That funding would be vested with Tasman Environmental Trust to support pest control and the ongoing protection of the area, he said.

Although the fundraising took longer than anticipated, partly due to Covid-19 pandemic, it had been “an absolute pleasure” to be part of the project, Smith said.

Fellow trustee Janice Gibbs, who was a key driver of the push to preserve the land and its trees for the community, was pleased, saying it was hard work at times but worth it.

Tasman mayor Tim King said it was nice to see a really great community process come out of a matter than started controversially and had the potential to be divisive.

“This will be here in perpetuity,” King said.


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